Schools - Encouragement
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Walking and Bicycling
Walking School Bus or Bike Train
To promote walking and biking, parents or teachers and students walk or bike along a route with designated stops. Check out our toolkit for more information on starting a walking schoolbus or bike train in your community!
Park and Walk
Parents may park their cars at a remote location and walk with their kids to school. Buses can also participate by parking remotely and allowing kids to walk the short distance to school guided by teachers or parents.
Have students mark their traveler tickets each time they walk or bike to school. Students can earn points towards prizes. MassRIDES offers the tickets as well as a variety of possible prizes.
Keep track of which students in the class walk to school. The class with the most walkers receives a sneaker, painted gold like an award. When another class surpasses them, they pass the sneaker along to that classroom and so on.
The principal and/or assistant principal agree to do something outrageous if a target number of students walk or bike to school (i.e. more than 100). Some ideas that Massachusetts principals have tried include: putting walkers/bicyclists name into a hat and the one who is picked gets to throw a pie in the principal’s face; the principal kisses a pig, or the principal dyes his/her hair.
Walk with the Principal
Have your most stellar walkers (they could be hand-picked by the principal or have earned the most Traveler Ticket marks) walk with the principal during recess or before or after school as a reward. The entire class that wins a school-wide competition for most walkers could also walk with the principal. Another school administrator or teacher could take the principal’s place.
Walker of the Week
Select one student who walks the most (or simply walks a lot) and hang their picture on the wall in the lobby, with a brief bio or answers to walking-related questions (e.g., “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on your walk?” or “Why do you like to walk to school?”). Older students can even interview younger students and create the posters themselves.
Give students special permission to wear hats during the days they walk or bicycle to school.
Post laminated pages of a popular story along a walking or biking route and have participants read the story as they move along.
Pennies for Pedestrians
Ask students to contribute a penny to a jar each time they walk or bike to school. When the jar fills, donate the pennies to a local shelter or food bank.
Before-School Exercise Program
Parents may need to drop kids off early in order to get to work on time. Ask volunteers to lead students in active games, a step-tracking challenge, or neighborhood walks during this time.
Ask parents to submit their names and addresses to a parent volunteer. The volunteer can then assign partners, grouping households by neighborhood to chaperone walking with students to school.
Community Bus Stops
There is a growing movement to encourage buses to at a community bus stop. This way, students have the opportunity to exercise and socialize even if they live too far from school to walk the entire distance. This can also lead to significant savings for the municipality.